Brooklyn College janitor accused of peddling cocaine

Brooklyn
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BROOKLYN — Police say that a longtime janitor at Brooklyn College was moonlighting as a campus coke dealer.

Jovan High and his family, however, say there’s more than one side to the story and that prosecutors’ claims, which are part of a larger effort to combat college drug sales, simply aren’t true.

The city’s special narcotics prosecutor said the 46-year-old custodian regularly sold cocaine on the street in front of James Hall, an academic building on the Brooklyn College campus. Investigators said on nine different occasions, High sold the drugs to undercover officers.

His family told PIX11 News that’s simply not the case.

“It’s not true,” said High’s father, Clarence, who added that his son “was struggling to pay bills,” for which his father was helping out, instead of his son resorting to drug dealing.

“We have too good a relationship for him to do that,” High’s father said.

The accusations against his son are fairly severe. Javon High worked at Brooklyn College as a custodian and allegedly made some of the drug sales in his work uniform, according to investigators. The college’s James Hall, in front of which High allegedly carried out the sales, houses a day care and after-school programs, and is directly across the street from an elementary school.

High’s family said that prosecutors made up the charges. 

“He hasn’t been doing this kind of crime that they’re trying to say,” his father told PIX11 News.

As for Javon High himself, his family put him on the phone with PIX11 News, but High insisted on talking first with his attorney before making a comment publicly.

Still, his family said they would not have posted $50,000 bail for his 13 drug dealing charges if they’d thought he was guilty.

“I’m here and I would know,” High’s father said.  “[He’s] trying to do the best he could.”

High has been in prison before, on drug charges. But his family said he was past that, and he’s spent the last six years working hard in his custodial job. High is accused also of selling drugs in the Coney Island public housing complex where his family lives. They again denied those charges.

The city’s special narcotics prosecutor Bridget G. Brennan is pursuing an unrelated drug sales case near Manhattan College in the Bronx.  There, two men — Osvaldo Espaillat, 31, and Victor Vigniero, 29 — are charged with eight and 15 drug counts respectively.

Both deny involvement with any drug sales. Police said multiple bags of cocaine and other drug paraphernalia were hidden inside an ottoman at Espaillat’s home. Officers also found nearly $3,000 cash in his apartment, police said.

Espaillat’s bail was set at $500,000 and Vigniero’s bail was set at $100,000. Neither has posted money toward their release pending trial.

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